slc4-o'hara anchor
James M. O'Hara, S1c
USS Salt Lake City CA25


USS SLC...Enlisted Navy...James M. O'Hara, S1c

US FLAG James M. O'Hara passed away. Found obituary on the Internet but there was no date.
Every year on March 26th, Jim & Helen Marie go out to a nice dinner to celebrate the SLC & her crew surviving the Komandorski Battle.
Jan. 19th, 2000
From Jim O'Hara

Dear Sandy,

First of all, I want to thank you, as an ex crew member of the Salt Lake City, for all the work that has gone into setting up the ship's own website. My daughter has viewed it in its entirety and said that your work has been magnificent. I also want to thank you for including me in the new additions. As you know, I was transferred from the SLC to the Cassin Young, with rather a large draft of men. We were somewhat the nucleus of a new ship.

So many in fact, we were sometimes referred to as the "Little Salt Lake City".. Very un-officially of course. In about Sept. of 44, we received a new Ensign right out of the Naval Academy, Bob Falardeau. We were from the same neighborhood in Chicago and stayed in touch after I left the Navy. After 1980 and the start of Cassin Young reunions, we started seeing more of each other. During one of our get-togethers, he made a very sincere statement to me. "After all my years in the Navy, the SLC sailors on the CY, were among some of the best sailors he ever served with". I always thought this statement said a lot about the "Old Swayback Maru".

I was aboard the SLC from abt. Dec. 42 to Sept. 1943. Most of that time in the 9th Division.

It is obvious that you are in contact with our association. However, as events and tales emerge, I'll be happy to pass them on for whatever they are worth. The only picture I have of myself in uniform is the one "above". There are others but have been lost and I hope to find them.

I presume that your interest in the Salt Lake City is through a family member. whatever it is, again I thank you for a first class job in all that you have been doing.

What promoted this letter is my reading of the letter by ball-red-02 Robert Grizzell, Y3c to ball-red-02 Deceased Elmer Breeze, GM1c. I found his letter to be somewhat emotional and very heart warming. By copy of this letter I will thank Robert for reminding me of what a fine bunch of sailors made up the 9th Division. I'm sure it was pretty typical of the other divisions, but I never put in the proper prospective until I read his letter.

I did not know Robert because by the time he came into the division, I had been transferred to new construction. I did think back, not only about Elmer Breeze, GM1c, ball-red-02 Deceased Alex M. Mihalka, CBM and A. B. "Choctaw" Harrell, but of others. We had a first class G.M. by the name of F. X. Flynn. He also set a fine example for others around him. He was commissioned and shortly afterwards left the ship. I'm sorry to see that his name is not mentioned in either the enlisted or officer group of those who served. (F. X. Flynn has been added to the Enlisted Navy "F" Section)

Being a small Division, we all knew each other rather well. Three G. M.'s that were transferred with me to the Cassin Young, spoke of Breeze and Choctaw in the same manner. There was also a GM1c by the name of ball-red-02 Deceased H. C. Tullos that was very well liked.

Mihalka lived in Aurora, IL. (not far west of Chicago) and we used to see each other from time to time. He had a very successful career with Aurora police department. He was telling me how he came to be called Mike, because Alex was his first name. The first time he met Padre Hodge, the Padre said he looked so much like an Irishman, he was going to call him Mike, and it stuck.

I have always been impressed with how the Navy could bring out leadership qualities in its young men. No matter what their background, from very rich to very poor, the opportunity was there. The system produced excellent results.

Breeze was telling me how he worked on the installation of the 40's on the SLC. This was a big, very important project. The manufacturer had 2 factory men aboard and the rest of the gang was taken from ship's company. Each division was to install its own guns. The factory men were so impressed with Breeze, they kept him on the project for the entire installation. When the project was over, the factory men handed Breeze a stack of catalogs about 18" high and told him to study them. He said, "I looked them in the eye and said I quit high school and joined the Navy because I did not like to study".

It seems the SLC had some poets aboard too. I found two of them while looking for other things. (See links below).

Thank you again for all the hard work you have been doing for the men of the SLC. It could not have been accomplished at any price. WELL DONE.

Best Regards
Jim O'Hara


Note from Sandy Eskew

Jim has been a great help to Debbie Rogers,
niece of Veteran ball-red-02 Deceased Billy Joe Boegen, who died on the USS CASSIN YOUNG during the war.

Also a great help is Jim Marrs
He is a Veteran from the USS Cassin Young, DD793. He served on one of the pre-war heavy cruisers, the USS Northampton, CA26, which operated with the Salt lake City a lot, so he has a great feeling for the old "Swayback Maru". He has contact with or information about several Salt Lake City sailors that put the Cassin Young in commission.

Here is some information on Billy Joe a Letter written by James M. O'Hara


Update: August 19th, 2000

In regards to "Choctaw". He was a full blooded Choctaw Indian and was one of the finest people you could meet. We were very good friends and had many pleasant conversations.

His first name was Harold and in scanning the crews list of gunner mates, I can not pick out his last name, but there are some people around who knew him longer would remember, such as ball-red-02 Albert A. Jowdy.

UPDATE: December 1st, 2000

On November 10th, 2000, the day before Veteran's Day, I was asked to give a talk to some 2nd and 3rd graders at the St. Luke's School in River Forest, IL. The school principle sent a memo around the school suggesting that something be done for Veteran's Day, so my grand daughter, Maggie, a 3rd grader, volunteered my services. The experience was truly a lot of fun.

The questions from them were very good. Some were: How many times had I been shot? Did I ever fall out of my hammock? Was it a lot of fun?... etc. Before I left, all the children sang and signed the "Lord's Prayer" for all Veterans. It was very beautiful.

Also Sandy, you were a part of this fine occasion. What really helped me make the talk of interest to the children was all the pictures that I was able to take off the SLC Website on the InterNet. They just loved passing them around. Just think, that for all the years to come, your Website will be there for others to use in many ways to keep alive sacrifices made by so many.

James O'Hara


Tidbits from ball-red-02 Charles E. Serey
5th Reunion in Lincolnshire, IL., 1981 Reunion
Comments from Jim O'Hara about SLC Veteran ball-red-02 Deceased Homer C. Tullos
SLC Deck Log Oct. 1943

Jim & Helen Marie attended the following SLC Reunions:   1981  1985  1991  1995  2003  2006


Contributions from James O'Hara

POEM about Battle of the Komandorski Islands
POEM about Battle of the Savo Island
Elegy For Old Swayback
All about "GEEDUNKS"
Pictures of SLC Sailors
Christmas Carol from the Pacific
Most Memorable Person on the SLC
From the Secretary of the Navy
Eulogy of Father Richard W. Hodge ball-red-02 Deceased
My Sweetheart Cries in the Night


James O'Hara & Family
Jim & Helen's 40th Anniversary-July, 1992


James & Helen O'Hara
Cassin Young July 1997 Reunion


James O'Hara & Family, Christmas 1999

FLAGBAR 501x15


The address of this page is o'hara.htm
Send Questions, Comments or Report Problems to Website Curator, Sandy Eskew
Return to SLC Main Index for Email Address